Genre: Baking

A Contemporary Women’s Fiction #25PagePreview Spotlight | “Cupcakes & Crumbs” (Berry Lake Cupcake Posse, Book One) by Melissa McClone

Posted Thursday, 19 November, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Cupcakes and Crumbs” direct from the author Melissa McClone in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comOn baking and having an aversion to pink and how the latter
didn’t discourage my interest in reading Cupcakes and Crumbs:

I’ve been attempting to dodge a rather keen secret – PINK has never been my favourite colour and if anything, its my least tolerable colour in the whole spectrum of the colour wheel. And, yet, whilst the colour pink has a disservice to me – as it nearly turns me off anything associated with the colour, this particular cover nearly put me off reading the story because I seriously felt it was overly pink. It was the cupcakes which left me curious and the fact this was a work of Contemporary Women’s Fiction. A topic of interest I not only regularly read and discuss on Jorie Loves A Story but one part of the focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat! (six years strong!)

Being a home baker and one who LOVES binge watching Great British Bake-Off whenever she swings into streaming NetFlix (as I have the tendency of switching up my streaming life by choosing different apps/streaming services to stream tv every odd moon or month; as you get the best variety this way!) and how she’s started to master the learning curve with more challenging bakes like scones, biscuits and sorting out her path into self-rising flour and bread flour; (without actually baking ‘bread’) – she’s focused more on lime cookies and a stellar alternative solution to the ‘best’ peach cobbler – you could say a baking central focus of a novel was right up her street!

There was a strong interest on the ambrosial and baking delights this novel promised to deliver but in regards to the Women’s Fiction side of the ledger – it has been a long spell since I’ve tucked into an ensemble cast within the genre like this one – outside of the fact I’m nearly entering S3 of “Army Wives” – given the fact Mum and I only started it a week ago and we’ve already cried, laughed and ploughed our way through two seasons of this kickin’ rockin’ Military Women’s drama of a tv serial – you could say I was in the mood for this kind of story long before Roku decided to grace us with the full series for *FREE* this November. It was one of those series Mum and I pushed off to watch – thinking, there will be a better time to see it. Reality? Never a good time to start a soul-crushing dearly dramatic and highly realistic military drama surrounding the lives of wives of the currently deployed and their life on (an Army) post! You just have to breathe, exhale and DIVE – trust me, its worth the emotional upheavals because this is wicked good drama!

You have to realise something else – one of  my favourite female vocalists over the last two decades has been PINK. Mind you, her world and mine are so far removed from each other you might blink twice and question that statement – however, despite the fact she’s had a very street and real lifestyle, she has a heart of gold, one powerful voice and writes lyrics which get into your soul. Mind, her name on the other hand made me smirk so much I’ve permanently have burnt my cheeks! Plus, I just love how she’s raising her kids and encouraging them to find their confidence, own their voice and walk their own path in life wherever that might take them. Who wouldn’t want her as a best friend? Which is why I admire her from afar, love her songs and appreciate her interviews as she shares her life with all of us.

Hence – when it came to choosing which blog tours to join and which books I wanted to consider for review, this book cover was a complete turn-off – which I bring up for one fair point – it is not the book covers which get me interested in reading. It’s the synopsis and the potential for the context of the story inside the covers – the topping (ie. cover) is just art – as without a solid story, realistic characters and a plausible reason to feel as invested to sink into the soles and spirits of the lives involved in the plot as any wicked good serial drama on tv can provide; the cover alone isn’t going to sway me to read the book. Or in this instance make me not pick it up as its cotton candied pink.

And, that dear hearts is why I selected *Cupcakes and Crumbs* because you have to take the sweet with the chaos – all our lives give us equal reasons to celebrate life and equal measures of sorrow to grieve the loss of people, companions (ie. animals) and the other bits round us which give measure of grace to our lives. To live is to love and to love is to live in other words. It isn’t always a perfect cupcake but sometimes when your drowning in the crumbs – it is like a flowering plant bursting up through concrete wholly sure of itself and the impossible path it took towards asserting the right to be present for whatever tomorrow might bring along.

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A Contemporary Women’s Fiction #25PagePreview Spotlight | “Cupcakes & Crumbs” (Berry Lake Cupcake Posse, Book One) by Melissa McCloneCupcakes and Crumbs
Subtitle: Berry Lake Cupcake Posse
by Melissa McClone
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

After life takes five women on different paths, a death brings them home. But friendship might not be enough to keep them together.

When Bria Landon and her estranged father each inherit fifty percent of a small-town cupcake shop, her dad hires her worst enemy, and first love, to turn the place into a soulless franchise…or sell it.

To save her aunt’s legacy, Bria needs the help of people who love the bakery as much as she does—her old friends who worked there fifteen years ago. Except each woman is dealing with her own problem:

Juliet, who's trying to prove she’s more than a trophy wife; Missy, a widow who fears losing the job she loves; Nell, who's meddling mother won't stop playing matchmaker; and Selena, a life coach who excels at fixing everyone else's lives...but hasn't a clue what's missing in her own.

Each woman wants to believe their friendship can overcome anything. But as the Berry Lake Cupcake Posse reunite to save their beloved cupcake shop, they soon discover the undertaking will bring more trouble than they expected.

Genres: Baking, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Cookery, Women's Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1944777555

Published by Cardinal Press

on 10th November, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 237

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Berry Lake Cupcake Posse series:

Cupcakes & Crumbs

Tiaras & Teacups ← forthcoming February, 2021!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #CupcakesAndCrumbs, #WomensFiction and #Contemporary

About Melissa McClone

Melissa McClone

USA TODAY bestselling author Melissa McClone writes heartwarming Women’s Fiction and Sweet Contemporary Romance novels for Cardinal Press, Tule Publishing Group, and Harlequin Books.

When she’s not writing relatable characters and sigh-worthy happy endings, she spends rainy Pacific Northwest reading from her Kindle’s ever-growing TBR, napping, and decorating her Happy Planner. Melissa lives in Washington state with her husband, three children, a Norwegian Elkhound, and three cats who think they rule the house. They do!

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Posted Thursday, 19 November, 2020 by jorielov in #25PagePreview, Blog Tour Host, Contemporary Romance, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction

Book Review | “Sugar and Spice” by Angela Britnell #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 30 June, 2018 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

#ChocLitSaturdays banner created in Canva by Jorie.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and I feature Romance & Women’s Fiction authors during @SatBookChat:

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb! Whilst sorting out how to promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “Sugar and Spice” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Why I was excited about reading more stories by Ms Britnell:

The best way to describe my thoughts about wanting to read another story by Ms Britnell is simply to re-share my thoughts on behalf of her novella You’re the One that I Want – as I had such a wicked blast reading it as it was the first #PocketChocLit I read whilst kicking off a mini-series of novella reviews featuring the first batch of ChocLit novellas which went into print a few years ago during Christmastime!

The stories were such a balm to my worried soul back then, as it was only a handful of weeks prior to Christmas that year when my Dad had had his stroke. ChocLit stories were the stories which pulled me through that December and even into the New Year of 2017. Sometimes focusing on stories helps our spirits when life turns especially adverse to where we need an outlet to redirect our thoughts off our worries and fears. One lovely thing though – each month Dad recovered more of himself and each new month thereafter the stroke felt farther away from having happened. Being able to care for my Dad all those months and still watching over him today, is one reason I am thankful I had the chance to remain close to home.

reflecting on my forethought’s

& afterthoughts:

Being in a position to reflect upon a story ahead of reading it has become a newfound joy of mine – where I get to suspend myself in the wonderful vortex of ‘could be or might be’ whilst never really knowing until I get the proper chance to read the story if I were hitting the target on the story’s heart or failing to pick up the threads of it’s narrative core.  In respect to You’re the One that I Want, I had an initial strong motivation to read the text as I simply find myself attracted to these kinds of stories quite often!

Remember when I said this:

The premise reminds me of “Under the Tuscan Sun” but with a built-in boyfriend and potential husband. The bit that reminded me the most is the touring bus & the holiday elsewhere from home, whilst life unexpectedly takes you by a surprise and gives you a new route to entertain experiencing. Love those types of stories!

There is something about being swept away on a holiday, never thinking your going to randomly meet-up with someone who could be your equal, your partner and your match. I love the folly behind the match, too! How they are playing that ‘should they or shouldn’t they’ stay together gambit, whilst sorting through their emotions. The funny thing is that for every Rom-Com (esp in movies on television) that sets up a couple in this fashion – where they are faking a relationship, inevitably they realise their error and remain together.

And, how do I feel now after reading this lovely novella twice (once for the live tweeting & re-reading for this review) about what I expressed within this paragraph:

The best bit for me is seeing how they come to this realisation – what was the impetus of changing their minds!? How did they realise that this ‘random something’ was worth taking a risk of a chance on and turning it into a romantic forevermore? I love seeing how they put it all together – weigh the odds and somehow realise that life affords us a lot choices, but sometimes the hardest thing to influence your choice is the one thing that ‘feels right’ in the moment where your life surprises you with something you hadn’t expected to find. At least not in the timing it’s being presented. There is an allure of that beautiful reverie of romance inching itself forward into your life when your focus is on everything *except!* falling in love! Laughs. Of course, that’s *exactly!* when love walks in through the door you never realised you left open!

I must say, Ms Britnell managed to woo me into her comedic Contemporary, where humour plays a big role in alleviating some rather adverse life moments (or rather side-stepping a few!) whilst honing in on the realities of dating before marriage and after divorce. She found a way to fine tune the realities of a workaholic businessman who hadn’t quite considered himself doing anything more than what he projected himself to accomplish in the business world whilst finding a singleton from England who was a bit jaded more then he was on the whole dating situation!

My initial musings were quite bang-on to what I found inside the novella – it surprised me a bit because I hadn’t realised I had tapped into the heart of the story-line as well as I had until I was reading how it all unfolded. The best part truly though was getting the joy of meeting a #newtomeauthor and reading a small slice out of her ongoing series set in Nashville! I loved the charm of the story but also the unexpected ways in which Ms Britnell surprised you – you might think you understand all the ins/outs of what could happen between Sarah and Matt, but that’s where you get a curveball of something wickedly unexpected!

-quoted from my review of You’re the One that I Want (Pocket ChocLit)

The only thing I’m unsure about though is if Sugar and Spice is the first novel in the Nashville series or simply a one-off non-connected to the series at hand, as Lily is from Nashville. The author’s website infers its not connected and thereby, I didn’t mention a connection on this review. The novella I read during December 2016 truly was the best way to become ‘introduced’ to Ms Britnell’s style as she put a lot of her comedy inside the story but also, showed the heart of what you can find inside Sugar and Spice as well.

Ms Britnell happily commented below this review & announced ‘Sugar and Spice’ does begin the #NashvilleConnections series! Isn’t that rather grand!?

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

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Posted Saturday, 30 June, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Britian, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, Divorce & Martial Strife, England, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Second Chance Love, Single Fathers, Small Towne Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature

Book Review | “Recipes and Road Stories: Life on the road with sisters Hannah & Caroline Melby” (of the duo) #HanaLena

Posted Friday, 2 October, 2015 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I  was contacted by Kelsey @ Book Publicity Services in regards to a non-fiction journal account of a sister duo in country music who journalled their experiences on the road whilst touring. I received a complimentary copy of “Recipes and Road Stories” direct from the publicist via Book Publicity Services in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I love fiddles and folk music – I am a champion of bluegrass and outlaw country, and I tend to have my own mind about where I ‘fit’ inside Country music where I most likely am on the fringes rather than being on the ‘inside edge’; however, this personally suits my fancy! I love cross-over artists (Country to Pop) and I love the originality of musicians who can belt out a ballard and write the lyrics which resonate on a heart-pulse the beauty of their message.

When I first learnt about this memoir by a duo of bluegrass who were traditionally trained and who have a natural rhythm of joy surrounding them as they play, I couldn’t find a reason not to accept this book for review! I’m a foodie girl at heart, if you follow my exploits under my #TheBookishFoodie featured cookbook reviews, you’d know how seeing a fusion of home-spun stories of family life, faith-centered journalling of life experiences, and the quirky addition of recipes woven together into a memoir of a rising duo of bluegrass – truly, what isn’t to love?

Book Review | “Recipes and Road Stories: Life on the road with sisters Hannah & Caroline Melby” (of the duo) #HanaLenaRecipes and Road Stories: Life on the Road with sisters Hannah and Caroline Melby of the Duo HanaLena
by Hannah and Caroline Melby
Source: Direct from Publicist

Recipes and Road Stories: Life on the Road with sisters Hannah and Caroline Melby of the duo HanaLena blends touching and rollicking road stories with an assortment of tasty recipes, and then tops everything off with plenty of exciting photographs.

Also contributing recipes are friends they made on the road, including Rhonda Vincent, a 5-time Grammy nominee who has been called the "Queen of Bluegrass", and Clarie Lynch, who is the reigning Female Vocalist of the Year for the International Bluegrass Association.

On the road they have opened for stars such as Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and performed with Grand Ole Opry member Charlie Louvin and the "King of Bluegrass" Jimmy Martin, who was a frequent performer at the Opry before his death in 2005.

In their off-hours, the sisters focused on the business end of music, with Hannah receiving a degree in public relations from Mississippi State University and Caroline receiving a degree in music business from Belmont University in Nashville.

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Baking, Biography / Autobiography, Cookery, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Travelogue


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Published by Sartoris Literary Group Inc

on 15th September, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 336

 Published By: Sartoris Literary Group, Inc.

Available Formats: Trade Paperback & Ebook

Interview about developing Recipes and Road Stories | The Clarion-Ledger

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HanaLena Summer Tour via HanaLenaBand

jump in the car and ride along with the sisters! beautiful vocals overlay the footage!

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Converse on Twitter via: #HanaLena

About Hannah and Caroline Melby

Hannah and Caroline Melby; HanaLena

By the time Hannah was in the 11th grade and Caroline was in the 7th grade, the Melby sisters were touring the country in bluegrass bands, with Hannah on fiddle and Caroline on mandolin. Today the sisters are front persons of a very popular Nashville-based country music touring band named HanaLena.

The sisters, who grew up in Starkville, Mississippi, performed from an early age - Hannah is now 28, Caroline is 24 - evolving from bluegrass to progressive country as they perfected their songwriting and performance skills out on the road. In 2008 they won the "Best New Act in Country Music" competition at the Colgate Country Showdown in the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville - and took home a check for a cool $100,000 presented by country music star LeAnn Rimes.

Photo Credit: Cathy Waugh

Hannah @hannahmelbyns Caroline @carolinemelby

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Posted Friday, 2 October, 2015 by jorielov in Anthology Collection of Stories, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Publicity Services, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Cookbook, Cookery, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Documentary on Topic or Subject, Indie Author, Memoir, Music Video, Non-Fiction, Short Stories or Essays, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, The Bookish Foodie, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Travel Writing, Travelogue, Vignettes of Real Life

Author Guest Post | “A Baker’s Guide to Life” by Judith Ryan Hendricks whilst on tour for “Baker’s Blues”.

Posted Tuesday, 4 August, 2015 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I hadn’t had the proper pleasure of finding Ms Hendricks prior to this blog tour, wherein I was most delighted I could participate by offering to host the author via a guest author feature! I am quite drawn into Foodie Fiction, especially novels that involve bakers or bakeries, as I previously devoured How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’ Neal.

Ever since that first encounter with a baker who was experiencing a lift shift whilst embarking on a journey towards centering themselves into a new awareness of how to live a life they truly could treasure and cherish, set a new standard of foodie novels I wanted to seek out and read quite readily! It’s been a bit of a hit/miss experience for me, as I’ve found a few motion pictures along the way that tickled my palette of interest even before I realised that a few of them had been based on books! (i.e. Julie & Julia) Although, The School of Essential Ingredients is one novel I cannot wait to continue reading as the poetic prose of the writer tickled my readerly heart with absolute joy!

As I set to mind what I wanted to ask Ms Hendricks, I tried to envision myself nearly at the tip-stone edge of picking up Bread Alone ahead of reading Baker’s Blues; attempting to think about what I might find curious about this third in the series whilst at the precipice of the first!

Proposed Topic: I love the introspective thread of narrative knitted inside Wyn’s character journey as she is turning inward in order to understand how all the changes in her outer world are not only affecting the people she loves but how their impacting her spirit. What was the impetus to use bread as a metaphor for the human condition and the resolve to effectively recognise as heart-wrenching as life can become there is still time left to resolve the past and present whilst keeping hope alive for the future? Baking felt to me in this one instance to be the centering balance a ballet dancer feels each time they go back to the bar. Balance is not always easy to repair when adversity collides into our ordinary hours.

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Book Synopsis | No.3 of the Bread Alone Series: Baker’s Blues

In Wyn Morrison’s world a 5 AM phone call usually means problems at her bakeryBaker's Blues by Judith Ryan Hendricks—equipment trouble or a first shift employee calling in sick—annoying but mundane, fixable. But the news she receives on a warm July morning is anything but mundane. Or fixable.

Mac, her ex-husband, is dead.

Ineligible for widowhood, Wyn is nonetheless shaken to her core as she discovers that the fact of divorce offers no immunity from grief. Friends and family are bewildered by her spiral into sadness, Mac’s daughter Skye blames her for his death.

For the last several years Wyn has been more businesswoman than baker, leaving the actual bread making to others. Now, as she takes up her place in the bread rotation once more, she will sift through her memories, coming to terms with Mac and his demons, with Skye’s anger, and with Alex, who was once more than a friend. Soon she will re-learn the lessons of bread that she first discovered at the Queen Street Bakery in Seattle…bread rises, pain fades, the heart heals, and the future waits.

No.1 Bread Alone (Book Synopsis)

No.2 The Baker’s Apprentice (Book Synopsis)

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Posted Tuesday, 4 August, 2015 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Bread Making, Cookery, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, TLC Book Tours